Q. Can you give some tips for cooking meat on my new barbeque grill?
A. When using a barbeque to cook meats, cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often brown fast on the outside before the inside is cooked.
Cook raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before eating. Cook ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Cook poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. Always use a food thermometer. Sometimes people prefer meats cooked to a higher temperature for eating quality and texture.
Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Any harmful bacteria present in the raw meat juices could contaminate safely cooked food.
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Q. Would it be OK to transplant my tomatoes and peppers into the garden this week?
A. To be safe, wait to transplant until the middle of April. Most years in our area, there are very few days past the first of April that have frost, although the last average date of frost is May 1.
Q. When is the optimum time to plant alfalfa in the spring and in the fall, and when is it too late to plant?
A. The optimum time to plant alfalfa in the spring is around April 15 in Eastern Washington. The later you plant the more difficult time you will have with weed control and keeping the ground moist during germination. However, with the Roundup ReadyTM Alfalfa, weed control is not a big problem so alfalfa can be planted up to Sept. 15.
Remember, in the fall, alfalfa yields decline for each day you delay planting past August 1. It will often be too late to plant to get established and prepare for winter survival if you plant past Sept. 15 in the Southern Columbia Basin and even earlier the farther north your field is located. Often the fields I am asked to come look at have problems magnified because of late planting in the fall.